Improving Document Security & Savings in Healthcare
By Mike O'Leary | May 29, 2018
In healthcare organizations, something is consuming millions of operational dollars but not receiving proper attention, and this lack of awareness not only prevents the achievement of real savings, it also increases the risk of security breaches.
Healthcare providers and payers have an important opportunity that too often goes unrecognized. While most professionals express concern about reducing costs and ensuring security, not many think about (let alone audit) their organization’s office printing habits and related spending. But those that do always come away surprised by the size of the opportunity to save their organization millions while also improving device security and document confidentiality.
Print is a “low-hanging fruit” opportunity
Our software, experience, and data-driven benchmarks tell us that a healthcare system of 15,000 employees typically has an annual print volume exceeding 100 million pages. To put that into perspective, if you were to stack just one week’s worth of this paper volume, it would reach twice the height of a California redwood, one of the tallest trees in the world. Annually, that equates to a paper stack over seven miles high! Yet many organizations believe they do not print much…until we prove otherwise.
If that doesn’t get your attention, this might: This 100+ million print volume results in over $4 million spent each year, based just on the printing done in offices and care facilities – what we refer to as “operational print.” This figure nearly doubles when you include internal print shops and external print suppliers.
Total spend covering operational, internal print shop, and externally sourced print is likely to be over $7 million! Fortunately, this print spend can conservatively be reduced by 25-30%, resulting in a $2 million hard costs annual savings opportunity without impacting the core focus of provider and payers. With a bit more energy and cultural acceptance, this savings number can rise by another 25%.
This is not to suggest that all printing is unnecessary. Today, paper is still a critical part of employee workflows, patient communications, and compliance mandates. While the shift from paper to digital/electronic is happening before our eyes, it’s not always fast or universal. However, the need is very real to eliminate waste, tighten security, and take advantage of every opportunity to improve productivity and speed.
It’s important to remember that people print, not devices, and employee printing habits play a significant role in all of this. Pharos helps healthcare organizations take print optimization to the next level, with a combination of software, data-driven benchmarks, policy development, design guidance, employee communications (education and awareness) and implementation.
Here’s a typical success story: 35% reduction in total print volume (and associated cost), 50% reduction in costly color printing, a 40% reduction in devices and improved utilization of existing assets, and a continual savings of 20-50%. Pharos software measures all this daily, by department, location, device, and individual.
Improving Security and Confidentiality
There’s much more to all this than saving money. Unsecured printing introduces a lot of risk. A data breach can result in fines in the millions, lost revenue, massive resource costs to improve security measures, and reputational damage. Office printers today are sophisticated network computers that require the same amount of security attention as servers and workstations.
In addition to locking down all printers, there are significant compliance risks when the wrong person can view or retrieve sensitive documents. By deploying secure pull printing technology, you lock down your devices, protect document confidentiality, improve your end-user printing workflows, and reduce unnecessary print volume. Pull printing also builds employee awareness that you take security seriously and creates the needed audit trails for inspection. If your organization is not currently leveraging this technology, it’s time to ask why not. Not many technologies offer as fast a financial return as secure pull printing, especially in print-intensive organizations like healthcare, where positive ROI can be achieved within the first six months.
Take control of your organization’s print environment. You’ll be surprised to see how much more secure and efficient your printing operations can be and how much money you can save your organization every year. Start the conversation today!